News Release

Marasco studying inclusive design of contactless fingerprints to mitigate skin tone and gender bias

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Emanuela Marasco, Assistant Professor, Center for Secure Information Systems, received funding for the project: “Identity Verification in Smartphones as Social Intersectionality: Inclusive Design of Contactless Fingerprints to Mitigate Skin Tone and Gender Bias.”

She is developing a contactless biometric mobile security application that can mitigate the vulnerabilities of deep artificial intelligence and optical sensors and allow marginalized identities the same access to data security. 

As part of their work, members of the project team will identify the impact of physical vulnerabilities; their analysis will be used to retrain Al models to mitigate these vulnerabilities and to protect users of all backgrounds. As part of their work, the project team members will identify and analyze the impact of physical vulnerabilities, variations in skin tone, and gender-related features. Their findings will inform the retraining of AI models to mitigate these vulnerabilities and ensure protection for users of diverse backgrounds.

Marasco received $50,000 from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority for this project. Funding began in June 2024 and will end in late May 2025.



George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 40,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. In 2023, the university launched Mason Now: Power the Possible, a one-billion-dollar comprehensive campaign to support student success, research, innovation, community, and stewardship. Learn more at

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